13.05. - 04.06.2016. JOHN CORNU "Bad Rituals""

13.05. - 04.06.2016

Galerija "Māksla XO"

Elizabetes iela 14, Rīga, LV 1010

"Purple Rain" 2016, wine on paper, 39,5x42,5cm

John Cornu « Bad Rituals »  

John Cornu works with an aesthetic inherited from minimalism and modernism (seriality, modularity), while maintaining a strong relation to context (historical, architectural) and a form of contemporary romanticism (a penchant for degradation, blindness, violence, and destruction). With an interest for modern ruins, coercive systems, logics of power, and the passage of time, the artist imbues his productions with an atmosphere at once poetic and without compromise. Whether sculptural, pictorial, or installation-based, they blend paradoxical forces, setting up a multiplicity of meanings and readings.

A dark, melancholic melody filters out from the exhibition « Bad Rituals ». It sketches a haunted portrait of our interior demons, the outline of a murky dream vibrating between violet purple and deep black.

Alcohol, sex, crime… John Cornu invites us to plunge into troubled water. Each of the exhibited works seems in fact at once to proceed from and respond to a set of rituals. Somewhere between figuration and abstraction, between differences and repetitions, the motifs, the subjects, the apparatuses, and the gestures reveal themselves in as much as they exhaust themselves.

The ruin is moving... whether in the panoptic structures, like so many Cyclops eyes glaring back at us, of the carceral architecture in the painting series Bad Ritual; or in the lines of unpainted points, somewhere between Australian Indigenous Art and Morse code without a receiver, in the canvases painted with red wine in the series Réserves (the title evoking at once the Aboriginal reserve and the French term for the parts of a canvas left unpainted); or in the missing part of the image presented on a trellis that masks the woman on offer (La Part Maudite (Richard Kern)); or in the blackened wood frame of the sculpture Gueule ouverte; or in the thirsty papers soaked with red wine like so many washed-out landscapes in the series Purple rain.

Emma-Charlotte Gobry-Laurencin


Born in 1976 in France, John Cornu lives and works between Rennes and Paris (France). His work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions at the Palais de Tokyo, the maison rouge in Paris, the Parvis Centre d’art, the EAC - Espace de l’Art Concret, the Abattoirs – Frac Midi-Pyrénées, the Musée Beaux-arts of Rennes and Calais, the Lyon Biennale (France), the Busan Biennale (South Korea), the Sainsbury Center for Visual Arts (UK), CIRCA in Montréal (Canada), the MACRO in Roma (Italy), and ZQM in Berlin (Germany).

Works of John Cornu will be exhibited in Latvia for the third time. Previously he has taken part in group shows „till the end of it” (2014, Māksla XO gallery, Riga) and „Kā tas nāk” (2015, Kuldiga Artists' Residence, Kuldiga).